Thursday, October 02, 2008

Entrepreneur writes up alternative to drug samples

From the Halifax Chronicle Herald:
Nova Scotia entrepreneur William Adams will take centre stage Friday at a special awards ceremony celebrating innovation.

Mr. Adams is the force behind SmartSample, which replaces traditional pharmaceutical samples with a specialized prescription that physicians can endorse and give to patients. Patients can use the prescription to receive free samples from any pharmacy in Canada from its regular supply of medications.

A practice dating back to the 1920s, sampling is the pharmaceutical industry’s primary marketing tool. It also has a important role in health care because it allows physicians and patients to evaluate drug therapies at no cost.

But as traditionally practised, Mr. Adams said sampling is wasteful and incompatible with electronic health records, and has the potential to compromise patient safety.

As a new pharmaceutical rep in the 1990s, on the road for two weeks each month with a minivan full of drug samples, Mr. Adams quickly realized how challenging it was to meet Health Canada’s guidelines for pharmaceutical products. Like prescribed medications, drug samples should be stored at the right temperature and used before they expire, and Adams says that before pharmaceutical reps can collect expired drug samples, many end up in landfills. ...more

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